The Old Man has lost his joix de vivre. It's a familiar sad tale that accompanies the retirement of passionate people who touched lives.
"Volunteer," people suggest. But he doesn't feel much like volunteering because it takes too much courage to sign up for the damn stuff. He won't know what to expect or where to go and godforbid someone should need him and he let them down. So no. No volunteering. He'll just read there in his comfortable chair because it has actually taken the form of his body. Yes. The chair accepts him and the novel washes over him like a warm bath. It takes his hand and transports him for a time.
But the novel has the nerve to end.
He studies his cuticles. Ponders plucking out the hairs on his knuckles. Remembers that those are the hairs that used to get singed off when he built campfires in his youth.
Tea. He'll make some tea. Where is that damn teapot? Rusted out on the bottom. He'll need to use the microwave. Three minutes to boil the water, right? He removes his glasses so he can see the timer. He walks to the window to watch the bird feeder and wait.
The blue jays bully all the small songbirds. When they aren't chasing them down, they're warning them with their beady blue jay eyes, silently saying I'll come for you if you take a chance. Just try me.
The man feels the injustice of this feathered microcosm deeply, so he taps hard on the glass, hoping to show them who's really boss around here.
But the birds have the nerve to fly away.